Air Force Falcons vs. New Mexico Lobos Picks and Game Preview -- 10/02/2021

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: 6:30 p.m. ET, October 2, 2021
Venue: Dreamstyle Stadium, Albuquerque, NM
Where to watch: FS2

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks


DraftKings: Air Force -11.5
BetMGM: Air Force -11.5
Caesars: Air Force -11.5

Season record
Air Force: 3-1 (0-1 Mountain West Conference)
New Mexico: 2-2 (0-0 MWC)

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Air Force - New Mexico preview and analysis


Recent form
Air Force: won 31-7 vs. Florida Atlantic on Sept. 25
New Mexico: lost 20-13 at UTEP on Sept. 25

One thing we emphatically learned last week was to never bet against the Air Force Falcons in the altitude that is at the Academy.

Even if it's the greatest offense of all time. If you get any group going into that altitude, they will struggle the likes of which can't be explained. This is my sincerest apologies to all who believed in the Florida Atlantic Owls as much as I did.

But the 3-1 Falcons will move away from the frozen confines of Colorado Springs for a week in a matchup against the New Mexico Lobos in UNM's conference opener. Air Force already got that fun out of the way two weeks ago losing 49-45 to the Utah State Aggies.

Weird; it's like a team from Utah can handle altitude better than Florida. Never would've guessed.

But the Falcons rebounded after said tough four-point loss against Utah State with a 24-point win against the Owls. The Air Force defense held FAU quarterback N'Kosi Perry to completing only 33 percent of his passes and held FAU to a grand total of 261 total yards of offense. Only 78 of those came from Perry's arm.

Air Force’s games rely on a rushing attack that accumulated for 446 yards led by quarterback Haaziq Daniels' game-high 164 yards and two touchdowns. He even threw two completions for 70 yards. Banner day for the Air Force offense. You’d be hard-pressed to find a pass attempt in these parts.

New Mexico is coming off a seven-point loss against the UTEP Miners on the road, one week after being shut out 34-0 to the injured Texas A&M Aggies. New Mexico's games have been determined by defense and that has been the reason for this 2-2 start, as the Lobos average 326 yards per game and allowing 24 points per contest.

While Air Force's defense struggled mightily against Utah State a couple of weeks ago, overall that defense has allowed 574 total yards and 24 total points in the other three games. It's been a steady presence on that side of the ball while wearing teams down with the run at the other end.

Prediction


New Mexico will keep this one close but there's just the hunch that Air Force's option attack will eventually wear the Lobos down. One thing to keep in mind: New Mexico went 3-0 against the spread last year as a dog at home. Two of those were outright wins, which will give reason for people to think New Mexico can stand a chance. But Air Force's offense might be the most potent ground attack in the league and even defensive coordinator Rocky Long will have a tough time trying to figure it out. Air Force by 17

Betting trends


Air Force is 4-4 against the spread in its last eight games as a road favorite.

New Mexico is 1-5 in its last six games as an outright home underdog.

Players to watch


Air Force: It’s all about Haaziq Daniels and his ability to run the option to near perfection. New Mexico is going to need to contain him if it wants a chance.

New Mexico: Quarterback Terry Wilson will need a better game as well if New Mexico is to pull off the upset. Last week he was 16 of 38 for 160 yards and an interception.

Statistical leaders


Air Force:
Passing: Haaziq Daniels -- 351 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Brad Roberts -- 398 yards, 3 TD
Receiving: Micah Davis -- 188 yards, 1 TD

New Mexico:
Passing: Terry Wilson -- 752 yards, 6 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Aaron Dumas -- 192 yards
Receiving: Mannie Logan-Greene -- 116 yards, 1 TD

Don't miss our champion handicappers' free picks and expert football picks today. And if you enjoyed this Air Force - New Mexico prediction, be sure to drop by every day for our daily NCAA projections and previews.

Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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